I'm sitting on the bus on my way back from Farm Technology Days in Barron County (Dallas, Wis.). You may be asking why that is important. Or you may be turning the page to the next article. I'll share with you later why I (and numerous Portage County volunteers) made the trip.
As I am enjoying the Wisconsin scenery traveling back through Eau Claire to Stevens Point, I couldn't help but reflect back on my first year at Stevens Point Area Catholic Schools. Sadly, some of the memories include tragedies to people who had too much left to contribute in their life. Through those tough times, though, we all grow and hopefully come to appreciate what we have while we are here on earth. My advice is to call or hug someone who you haven't in too long of a period of time. Texting, e-mailing, Tweeting, Facebooking, etc. does NOT count!
My first year with the Catholic schools is filled with tremendous pride. Yes, we won a Destination Imagination Global championship and had representation at state from a track team member and our softball team. Yes, our families grew stronger in their faith. Yes, our teachers and staff won state and local awards. Yes, our ACT scores exceeded state and national averages. Yes, we are adding some great curriculum and mentoring this fall.
Those all lift our spirit and create great pride. But what about the 2-year-old at St. Joseph's Early Childhood Center who gave me a hug after I read to her class. Now that's fuel for the soul. Or the fifth-grader who always gives me a high five when I see her in the hallway at St. Stephen's. Or the Pacelli High students who took the time to chat in the hallway during lunch and just talk about "stuff."
Those little things are what I look back on and give me the energy to continue to work with a great team of students, families, teachers, staff, priests, parishioners, alumni, donors, business partners and friends. I saw our students caring about themselves, each other and others in a fashion that shows tremendous respect. It is the kind of respect and character you hope for in your children.
Our students' character in the time of a tragedy or success or even failure is what matters. How they help us and we help them grow matters. Our students are becoming critical thinkers and decision makers. That matters. Yes the "scoreboard" is part of life, but my scoreboard holds a different tally. That community spirit is important.
That community spirit is part of the Farm Technology Days trip. Next year (2014), Portage County is hosting Farm Technology Days. Please put Aug. 12 to 14, 2014, (not 2013) on your calendar. If what I saw in Barron County is any indication of what to expect in Portage County, we are all in for a treat. Many of the volunteers leading the effort went to the event today and this week to get a taste of what is in store for us.
Please thank the executive committee and sub-committee members when you see them (I'm just a concession guy.). Thank Blue Top Farms and the Feltz Family Farms (a proud SPACS family) for the opportunity. Get out and volunteer on a committee to help show off all that is great in central Wisconsin. If agriculture is the furthest thing from your mind, you must go see the activities in 2014. There is so much more than tractors and cows!!!
And thanks to the SPACS community for making my first year a blessed one! And thanks to my family for supporting me in my role.